SINGAPORE (AFP) - Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam began his new four-year term as a FIFA executive committee member this week keen to mend fences with his most ardent critics.
But, as the dust settles on one of the most bitter election campaigns seen in football, he insists he will never change his controversial style of leadership.
So disillusioned were almost half of the AFC's 46 member nations in the way the Qatari runs the regional football body that they voted against him last Friday at their congress in a key show of dissent.
They said he was a dictator, that there was no transparency in what he was doing and argued that local football associations were not getting enough money.
At the forefront of the criticism were two powerful and influential men -- FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-Joon and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president Sheikh Ahmad Al Sabah.
Despite vicious personal attacks on him, Bin Hammam is keen to forgive and forget, conscious that if he doesn't repair the relationships the battle for power will start again ahead of the next congress in two years.
Then, his presidency will be at stake.
"I have no problems with the remarks Chung made," he said, referring to the Hyundai scion publicly declaring Bin Hammam had mental problems and ran the AFC like a criminal.
"Chung is one of the people who I would like to restart relations with for the good of Asia," he added.
Sheikh Ahmad, who also heads the Kuwait Football Association, stepped up his rhetoric after the Qatari accused him and the OCA of vote-buying.
The matter was referred to FIFA's ethics committee but Bin Hammam suggested he was no longer interested in pursuing the claims of corruption, which were denied.
"I'm not going to act as the sport's police for the world," he said.
"I just want to refocus and look forward. It is better for me to leave the past behind and start a new page.
"The past is the past and we all have to think about the future of Asian football from now on."
But he still has some key unresolved business, notably changing the statutes so that the AFC president automatically becomes FIFA vice-president -- a position Chung currently holds.
The AFC and Latin America are the only continental bodies that do not apply this principle and Bin Hammam won support from FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
"Whoever is president of FIFA, it is better for him to have vice presidents as heads of confederations. It is easier to work together and better for the good of the game," said Blatter.
While Bin Hammam wants to build bridges, he insists he will not change the way he does business.
"I am definitely not going to change my style," he said. "I have full democracy and transparency in the way I act as president. I respect the rules."
With the budget for the next four years approved by the congress he will now press on with his vision for the future, which he said had developing the AFC Champions League at its forefront.
Bin Hammam believes that only through improving top level club football will more sponsor money start flowing into the AFC coffers.
The Champions League was revamped this year, expanding from 28 to 32 teams and with stricter participation criteria to raise standards.
At stake is 20 million dollars in prize money, dwarfing the four million available in 2008.
|Colombia Primera A Wrap: Atletico Nacional win again|
|Uruguay Primera Division Wrap: Tight title race continues|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Wrap: Bolivar stay top|
|Chile Primera Division Wrap: Universidad Catolica claim top spot|
|Ecuador Primera A Wrap: Champions Emelec finish with a win|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Osasuna, Espanyol claim comeback draws|
|Barkley can be England´s ´diamond´, says Martinez|
|Ligue 1 Wrap: Monaco into second with win, Lille beaten|
|Mazzarri adamant Inter were denied ´clear´ penalty|
|Brazil Serie A Wrap: Fluminense, Vasco relegated as violence mars final weekend|
|Serie A Wrap: Roma back on track, Inter held at home|
|Primeira Liga Wrap: Sporting move top, Olhanense lose again|
|Serie A: Inter 3 Parma 3|
|Peru Primera Division: Real Garcilaso 3 Universitario 2|
|Fan clashes mar Brazilian league fixture|
|Bundesliga Wrap: Wolfsburg win again, Hertha up to seventh|
|Wenger praises Everton performance|
|Martinez delighted with Everton display|
|Eredivisie Wrap: Feyenoord stay in touch with top three, Groningen lose at home|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Benfica v Paris Saint-Germain|
|Premier League: Arsenal 1 Everton 1|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Bayern Munich v Manchester City|
|Meulensteen confident over Berbatov future|
|Arsenal to face Tottenham in FA Cup third round|
|Lambert disappointed with refereeing decisions|
|Russian Premier League Wrap: Zenit back on top, Spartak close the gap|
|Leonardo: PSG tried to sign Ronaldo|
|Cocu defiant despite heavy PSV defeat|
|Premier League: Fulham 2 Aston Villa 0|
|Garcia delighted as Roma back on form|
|Paulinho hails Tottenham resilience|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Manchester United v Shakhtar Donetsk|
|Hughes sees Stoke progression|
|Marcelo tips Kaka for FIFA World Cup recall|
|Pochettino sticks to attacking philosophy|
|Milner bemoans City travel sickness|
|Laudrup looking for striker boost|
|Juve will not miss Pirlo, says Mancini|
|Poyet has own goal concerns|
|Coloccini: We have learnt from our mistakes|
|Buffon fires Hart a World Cup warning|
|Hughton urges Hooper service|
|Hyypia hails ´important´ win over Dortmund|
|Clarke frustrated with penalty decision|
|Moyes confident in Manchester United squad|
|Mourinho: Chelsea are in trouble|
|Six arrested in new match-fixing probe|
|A-League: Melbourne Victory 1 Newcastle Jets 2|
|Allardyce furious with Nolan indiscipline|
|Keller: Korb deserved a red card|
|Balotelli still confident despite late miss|
|Benitez bemoans errors, Guidolin thrilled with draw|
|No worries for Madrid after Copa del Rey draw|
|Son expected goal and victory against Dortmund|
|Paraguay Division Profesional Wrap: Cerro Porteno finish Clausura unbeaten|
|MLS Cup: Sporting Kansas City 1 Real Salt Lake 1 (7-6 on pens)|
|Guardiola thrilled with Bayern´s complete performance|
|Garcia focused on attractive football, Roma´s fans - not Juve|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Real held, holders Atletico all but through|
|Primeira Liga Wrap: Martinez sends Porto top, Estoril see off Pacos|
|Ligue 1 wrap: Five-star PSG back on track, Lorient march on|
|Eredivisie Wrap: Top three all win, RKC draw|
|Klopp confirms hospital visits for Bender, Sahin|
|Serie A Wrap: Napoli, Milan both held|
|Poyet disappointed by second-half performance|
|Bundesliga Wrap: Bayern, Leverkusen secure wins|
|Balotelli calls for better focus from Milan|
|Allegri blasts Milan after Livorno draw|
|Villas-Boas pleased with efficient Tottenham|
|Scottish Premiership Wrap: No winning start for Inverness boss, Dundee United go third|
|Blanc pleased with PSG response|
|Marseille sack Baup|
|Clarke rues missed chances in West Brom defeat|
|Premier League: Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2|
|Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund 0 Bayer Leverkusen 1|
|Pulis predicts tricky December for Palace|
|Hughes praises Assiadi impact|
|Ribery glad to be back as Bayern run riot|
|Mackay rues Cardiff´s wastefulness|
|Pellegrini praises Southampton display|
|Chelsea lack killer instinct, Mourinho laments|
|Rodgers lauds prolific Suarez|
|Lallana: Southampton deserved to win|
|Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 5 Sochaux 0|
|Football League Wrap: Notts County, Cheltenham Town clinch wins|
|Championship Wrap: Burnley go top, Derby win fifth in a row|
|Premier League: Liverpool 4 West Ham 1|
|Premier League: Crystal Palace 2 Cardiff City 0|
|Premier League: Stoke City 3 Chelsea 2|
|Premier League: Southampton 1 Manchester City 1|
|Bundesliga: Werder Bremen 0 Bayern Munich 7|
|Moyes confident on United prospects|
|Pardew: Old Trafford win among the best of my Newcastle career|
|FIFA announce World Cup fixture changes|
|Premier League: Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 1|
|Escriba plays down Elche hopes|
|Lambert wary of Meulensteen effect|
|A-League Wrap: Kewell´s Heart held, Mariners down Sydney|
|J.League Wrap: Sanfrecce defend title, Marinos beaten|
|Courbis set for Montpellier job|
|Rosler appointed Wigan manager|
|Poyet: Uruguay will beat England|
|Ferdinand unsure over Moyes´ late selection tactic|
|Win shows squad depth, says Conte|
|Blanc denies PSG defeat was inevitable|
|Barcelona ´obliged to win´, says Martino|
|Unbeaten Bayern streak doesn´t faze Guardiola|
|Gilardino Toronto-bound as Italian MLS legion grows|
|Manaus stadium built for the heat, says sports secretary|
|Valcke: USA, England in tough groups|
|Ranieri admires lowly Ajaccio|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Barcelona arrest deficit to beat third-tier Cartagena|
|Wenger dismisses complacency fears|